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Iannello Fights Off Racism Charge

by on October 28, 2009

I don’t know Michele Iannello. Anyone on this site following that election can see I support Kevin Hardwick. Nevertheless, I must voice my thoughts on a story out yesterday about recent troubles facing Iannello and come to her defense.

The Buffalo Teachers Federation is poised to withdraw its support for Legislator Michele M. Iannello today after alleging she demanded the removal of Working Families Party volunteers campaigning for her because they were black.

Iannello, a Kenmore Democrat also running on the Working Families line who is locked in a tough race with Republican challenger Kevin R. Hardwick, denies the accusations. She said she objected to Working Families requests by door-to-door canvassers asking voters to sign a pledge promising to vote for her, prompting a split with the party.

“It’s just a difference of opinion,” she said.

But BTF President Philip Rumore stands by the charges and asked the union’s Executive Committee to convene today to rescind support for Iannello and adopt a neutral position in the race.

“She demanded we terminate the two African-Americans. She said she did not want them, and insisted,” Rumore said Tuesday. “This one canvasser has worked white neighborhoods before and been very successful, and in this day and age it’s just awful.

“This is against everything this organization stands for,” he added.

My gut feeling tells me that she demanded the removal of volunteers campaigning for her who happened to be black, not “because they were black.” There is a difference, and considering how haphazardly charges of racism or even anti-Semitism are made these days, I think Iannello deserves the benefit of the doubt here.

If it turns out I am wrong, then I’m wrong… but charges of racism are quiet serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Too often such charges are made erroneously and people end up with ruined reputations that I am not about to jump on Iannello over these allegations unless more information comes out proving her explanation to be wrong.

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